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Sunday, October 7th, 2012 at 12:00 pm  |  21 responses

Top 50: Danny Granger, no. 40

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford

Despite being one of the better players at his position in the NBA, Danny Ganger has always been someone who few people outside central Indiana have paid much attention to. And in this relative obscurity, he’s been able to carve out a nice career for himself while gaining the respect of his peers in the process.

But if no one really cared about Granger before, that all changed when the Pacers took on the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs last year. The matchup paired him against LeBron James who, at the time, had a somewhat dubious reputation for flaming out in the postseason and having a “weak” mentality.

Like any competitor, Granger tried to take advantage of this perceived weakness, but in the process, he became the most hated player in the NBA for 11 days last May. Although he hails from New Orleans, he’s never been known around the League for being a “tough guy.” Granger pretty much tried to punk LeBron in the series by getting physical with him and almost seemed to be trying to start a fight with the “King” who called his antics “stupid.”

And looking back… They were.

Instead of just going out there and playing his game, Granger shot just 29-77 from the field (38 percent) as he averaged 13.3 points per game. LeBron, on the other hand, averaged 30 per and outscored the Pacers star by 100 points in the six-game series.

After the Heat dispatched the Pacers, there were whispers that Granger had so badly regressed, he shouldn’t even be considered as the Pacers best player anymore. That title went to either Roy Hibbert or up-and-coming small forward, Paul George. This, of course, all depended on who you asked or which story you happened to read on the web that particular day.

Statistically speaking, those who held that opinion had a valid point as the Pacers ‘11-12 campaign was not Granger’s best.

He still led the Pacers in scoring at 18.7 points per game, but his .416 shooting percentage from the field was the worst of his seven-year career. And if you go back to the ‘08-09 season where he averaged 25.8 points per and was named an All-Star for the first time, his scoring average has dropped a full seven points since then.

But he’s fallen even further on SLAMonline’s Top 50, where he was ranked 24th in 2011 and 21st in 2010.

Truth be told, Danny Granger is still a very good player in the NBA, and maybe even still top five at his position. But it’s clear he’s no longer the same player as before. And without a strong campaign this season, he could actually find himself completely off this list by the time the 2013 version rolls around.


Where should Danny Granger rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • nick

    One of the purest scorers of the league…

  • spit hot fiyah

    after reading the write up i feel like he shouldn’t be on the list at all

  • danpowers

    grangers statistical output declined but hibbert (and maybe george / west) above him in the ranking? he was still the most productive pacer in the playoffs and throughout the season. so if other pacers makes the list, granger’s low rank would not be fair.

  • Young C

    If Granger is the 6th best SF in the league then this must mean that Paul Pierce isnt on the list at all. Lebron, Durant, and Melo are top three. Then Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala.

  • 23

    Is iguodala a 2 or a 3? I mean skill wise i would consider him a 3, but i feel like he’s been a sg more often.

  • danpowers

    iguodala is just an example of why putting players into position categories often doesnt make sense. he plays both positions almost the same way imo.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Hibbert was more productive than Granger last season. He just doesn’t shoot as often. Other than that he was better. Especially in the playoffs, where Hibbert was by far the best player on the team. (Granted his competition was weaker position wise).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Iguodala is a 2. As that will be the position he plays in Denver

  • danpowers

    during the season grangers true shooting percentage, his per, win shares were all higher than hibbert’s. in the playoffs that shifted as you said due to a weaker competition that hibbert had to face. when judging grangers performance we have to consider that he was facing some of the best defenders in the league on his position while hibbert could do what he want untill miami decided to take him out of the game.last season granger was indianas go to guy. i am not so sure if george is ready to take over already.

  • danpowers

    next season in denver, true. before that i think he played the 3 slightly more than the 2 that was all im saying. and yes, in denver he will play the 2 only. except chandler and gallinari both get hurt

  • http://twitter.com/MisterBucketz Mitya Ya

    I’m beginning to be a little worried if Paul George is even on this list. Because he’s definitely better than Granger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/najee.fareed Najee Fareed

    slam loves Lebron James too much hop off

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    No. Nbk loves LBJ too much… it’s creepy.

  • Datkid

    iggy is a 2… but he still plays the 3 better than danny granger. honestly though the 2 and the 3 are sort of the same thing at this point.

  • Youngindy21

    Paul George is not better than Danny Granger. At least not yet. Do you even watch Pacer games? Anybody who watches the Pacers knows Granger is still lightyears ahead of George offensively.

  • Chris Mordi

    Wow, idk about Paul George or Hibbert being better than Granger. I think we can attribute the lows in scoring due to team depth. Also he was steady across the boards in rebs, steals and blocks.. I feel that granger is one of those guys who is a great robin, but bad Batman. He is a special player though, and as those guys find their game, granger will fill in the pieces where needed.

    Considering where Indy got him at in the draft he def produced. Ill take granger anyday.

  • keyon dooling

    at 41% shooting last year. ok.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No, during the season Hibbert had a higher PER and the win shares were 0.5 in Granger’s favor. Not really enough of a difference to use to to support an argument, especially considering Granger played 4 more minutes a game (doesn’t sound like much, but we are talking about only .5 of a win share).
    .
    I don’t really have a problem with you thinking Granger was better last season, I just want to make sure we realize he wasn’t more efficient and in my opinion, wasn’t more effective.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No, during the season Hibbert had a higher PER and the win shares were 0.5 in Granger’s favor. Not really enough of a difference to use to to support an argument, especially considering Granger played 4 more minutes a game (doesn’t sound like much, but we are talking about only .5 of a win share).
    .
    I don’t really have a problem with you thinking Granger was better last season, I just want to make sure we realize he wasn’t more efficient and in my opinion, wasn’t more effective.

  • danpowers

    just checked back on it and yes, my eyes must have accidently slipped into the wrong column. to me it was clear tho that grangers production would go down with the addidition and emergence of talent around him. the only negative thing last season was his fg% but he wasnt the only scorer with this problem during the bumpy lockout season. a guess would be that he may had some problems to adjust to the new pacer offense last season.
    i expect him to adjust and have a better season this year as he is still the best player on this team imho.

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